It’s likely that cloud computing is already enhancing your personal and professional life on a daily basis. Whether you use a computer at the office, work from home or just use personal productivity tools, the cloud touches just about everyone.
For many, the term “cloud computing” has become synonymous with the internet. Strictly speaking, cloud computing can be defined as delivery of information technology services over the internet. In most cases, information is stored, processed and shared at a central location that is easily accessible from an internet browser.
Below are just a few of the ways that you may already be using cloud computing to improve your personal productivity:
- Backup of your computer files on the internet
- Storing and sharing of photos, music and video
- Online Banking and Tax Filing
- E-Mail and Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP)
At the Office
Of course, employees who work in information technology utilize cloud computing in a variety of ways for IT infrastructure, information processing, data management, websites, system development, etc. However, employees who work in other areas are now exposed to cloud computing applications as well:
- Some of the business software packages that employees now use are accessed from an internet browser. Some of these packages are also hosted on servers in the cloud rather than in the local IT department.
- Many human resources activities such as job applications, training and benefits are now accessed over the internet.
- E-mail and related communication methods make use of the cloud.
- On-Line meetings are now commonplace.
The expansion of cloud computing applications has facilitated an improvement in work/life balance for many employees who can now work from home either part-time or full-time. This is because many of the business applications that employees typically use at the office are now accessible over the internet. This greatly simplifies the technology required to establish and maintain home offices. In addition, the popularity of smart phones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices has further enhanced connectivity. “Work-At-Home” can now mean work at the café, work at the day care center or work at the beach!
Whether businesses like it or not, the accessibility of the internet at the office coupled with the proliferation of cloud based internet applications has resulted in many more employees taking care of personal business at the office. Employees can now check their bank balance, view their personal e-mail, schedule a doctor’s appointment or book a trip from their office computer. As with work-at-home, this too can enhance your work/life balance.
While most of us now take many of these conveniences for granted, the growth of cloud computing in just the last few years has substantially improved our lives. There is almost no limit to the creative ways that individuals will find to use cloud computing technologies in the future. These will continue to shape the ways that we live and work for years to come.
This post is written by Rackspace blogger Jennifer Marsh. Rackspace Hosting is the service leader in cloud computing, and a founder of OpenStack, an open source cloud operating system. The San Antonio-based company provides Fanatical Support to its customers and partners, across a portfolio of IT services, including Managed Hosting and Cloud Computing.